Did you know that perusing social media sites can have a direct effect on your mental health?
Most of us have that acquaintance who posts images on social media sites daily, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, showing vacation photos, food they ate, and groups of friends they spent time with. We scroll through the pictures feeling envious of their lifestyle, wishing our lives could be like theirs. Sometimes wishing we could look like them, be able to afford vacations like they do, or be the best parent and spouse by preparing similar gourmet meals.
Nowadays, we tend to look at how many pictures we can post or what we should post, but we tend not to look at the effects of social media on our mental health.
Now don’t get me wrong, social media sites can be fantastic and can promote well-being! They allow us to feel connected with distant family and friends, see how well acquaintances are doing, to express ourselves, provide us with entertainment, and enable us to form new friendships. However, if they are used as a way to size up one’s own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect.
These sites tend to allow us to present our own filtered sense of reality, showing only what we want to show; leading to a person critically comparing their life with other people's and using others' posts as measures for successes and failures in their own life. People are left with a lowered self-esteem, often resulting in negative self-statements, such as “I will never be able to be like that person,” or “I could never do that.”
Keep in mind, people do not post pictures of themselves fighting with their partner, the flight losing their luggage and then crying on the phone to the airline, or misplacing their wallet and making a disastrous mess of the house while searching for it. Also, remember, it often takes a lot of filters and arranging to make a plate of food look that good.
After perusing Facebook or Twitter, keep an eye out for:
Feeling low when you see other people's images and lifestyle.
Feeling envious of others people lives.
Finding social media as your first and only choice of enjoyment.
Being unable to do anything without feeling you need to share it online.
Remember, with filters and the ability to edit photos, you can’t always trust what you see. If you have been feeling low lately, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. With assistance you can learn to see the true beauty within; because it exists in all of us.
Check here periodically for updates from Kelly Mental Health staff.
Check out kellymagazine.ca for recent mental health articles and blog posts.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide personal support as an alternative to psychotherapy services. Please note that replies are viewable by the public, and we may take a few days to respond. If you require immediate assistance, please call us during business hours.